The Scientific Reason Love is Addictive

Kate Horowitz

Kesha called it: Love really is a drug. Imagine your brain is a pinball machine, and the reward centers are targets. Scientists say that drugs like heroin and cocaine hit and light up some of those targets—but love lights them all. The very same physiological processes that make certain drugs addictive are hyper-activated when we fall in love. And, like drugs, having a little only makes us want more. 

This may be true even when the object of our affection is bad news. A recently published study shows that once our brains have gotten a taste of something good, it’s very hard for us to ignore it. The researchers say this pattern may be the reason it’s so difficult to stick to a diet or recover from an addiction. 

As Alistair Jennings demonstrates in the Inside Science video above, breakups and recovery alike are an uphill battle with brain chemistry. But, as he’ll also show, we don’t have to go it alone.

[Header image from YouTube // Inside Science]